As part of a visit to China, Gwangju Mayor Lee Yong-seop introduced and promoted the city of Gwangju to the assembled global media at a press conference on December 16th at the Olympic Sports Expo Center in Hangzhou. The conference was attended by over 140 journalists representing media from around the world including CCTV, CNN, ABC, BBC, TF1, and NHK.
During his remarks, the mayor said that the city of Gwangju, in conjunction with support and cooperation from FINA, will make every effort to ensure that next year’s Gwangju FINA World Swimming Championships are the most successful ever. Mayor Lee also highlighted how safe Gwangju city is, explaining that visitors can freely walk the streets, even at night, without police presence. He compared the Gwangju Championships to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, during which not a single crime was reported by visiting fans.
In addition, Mayor Lee added that the Korean government and FINA have been calling more actively for North Korean participation in the 2019 Championships.
The FINA gala, marking the end of the 2018 World Swimming Championships, included performances and a dinner, along with awards for the best athletes and coach. The mayor’s “Invitation to Gwangju” speech, delivered in English, received generous applause from the gathered swimming competitors, leaders and FINA officials from all over the world.
On the morning of December 17th, Mayor Lee met with the Zhejiang Province vice-governor, Zhu Congjiu, and exchanged opinions on major issues and developing relations between Gwangju and Zhejiang Province. In response to a request for cooperation regarding the 2019 Gwangju Championships, the vice-governor said that the attendance at the meeting of Chinese Olympic swimmer Sun Yang demonstrated their willingness to provide support and promotion at the provincial level.
Mayor Lee presented Sun with soft dolls of the Gwangju 2019 mascots, Suri and Dari. “I am very interested in Gwangju 2019 and know that Park Tae-hwan is an honorary ambassador,” said the Chinese athlete. “Whenever I have the opportunity, I will make an effort to promote Gwangju 2019.”